California Penal Code 92 & 93 pc
Bribery of or by Judges, Judicial Officers or Jurors

How would you feel if you sued someone who injured you in a car accident and you lost...not because you had a bad case...but because the other side paid off the judge to rule against you?

Penal Code 92 pc and Penal Code 93 pc deal with bribes of or by judges and jurors.  They are felony crimes.  Violation can result in jail or prison time.

But let's change our hypothetical.  What if you were the judge in that case and no one paid you to do anything...you just ruled the way you thought was right.  But you were falsely accused of being on the take. Then you need an experienced attorney standing up for your side.

Our California Criminal Defense Lawyers can help.1 We're former prosecutors and police officers and we know how to defend these complex cases.

This article covers PC 92 and PC 93.  You might also be interested in our related articles on

Below we will discuss:

1. Definition of bribe
2. Penal Code 92 pc - bribery of judicial
officers and jurors
3. Penal Code 93 pc - bribery by judicial
officers and jurors
4. Defenses to a bribery charge
5. Penalties for a bribery conviction
1. Definition of bribe

Bribe is broadly defined in California law.  It happens when a judge or juror makes an official decision in a case in exchange for money or something else of value.7

Bribery goes both ways...a person can be convicted for offering a bribe to a judicial officer and a judicial officer can be convicted for asking for a bribe.

2. Penal Code 92 pc - bribery of judicial
officers and jurors

California Penal Code Section 92 pc deals with bribes of people charged with deciding court cases.  PC 92 makes it a felony for:

  1. any person to give or offer to give a judicial officer
  2. something of value
  3. with a corrupt intent
  4. to influence the officer's decision in an official matter8

The following people are covered by Penal Code 92 pc:

  • judges
  • jurors
  • referees
  • arbitrators
  • umpires
3. Penal Code 93 pc - bribery by judicial
officers and jurors

California Penal Code Section 93 pc deals with bribes by people charged with deciding court cases.  PC 93 makes it a felony for:

  1. a judicial officer to ask, receive, or agree to receive
  2. something of value
  3. with a corrupt intent
  4. to influence the officer's decision in an official matter9

The following people are covered by Penal Code 92 pc:

  • judges
  • jurors
  • referees
  • arbitrators
  • umpires

Let's look at an example:

Example:  Defendant is a juror in a case involving damage to the property of a truck farm.   Someone makes an anonymous telephone call to the truck farm owner, the plaintiff in the case, and tells him that if he wants the case to go his way to put an ad in a local paper asking to buy land in Alabama.  It is well known around the community that defendant owns land in Alabama and was a land broker in that state.  Further, defendant's car was spotted at a rendezvous point arranged during a subsequent phone call.
The jury could conclude that the evidence presented in this case amounts to bribery by defendant of plaintiff.10
4. Defenses to a bribery charge

The penalties for bribery can be severe.  But it's important to remember that there are defenses to a PC 92 or PC 93 charge.  These include:

  • lack of corrupt intent
  • entrapment
  • coercion
  • intoxication

For more details on defenses to bribery charges, please see our related article California bribery laws.

5. Penalties for a bribery conviction

What will happen if you are convicted of bribery in violation of PC 92 or PC 93?  You could:

  • go to prison
  • pay a fine

Except in certain situations, bribery is a felony offense.11 You can be sentenced to state prison for between two and four years.

You might also have to pay a restitution fine in the following amount:

  • if the bribe was not received, between $2,000 and $10,000, or
  • if the bribe was received,
    • at least the bribe amount received or $2,000, whichever is greater, OR
    • any larger amount of not more than twice the bribe amount received or $10,000, whichever is greater.
Our California Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help...
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If you or loved one is charged with Penal Code 92 & 93 pc bribery of judges and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

To learn about Nevada bribery law, go to our article on Nevada laws for bribery of or by judges, judicial officers of jurors.

References:

Our California Criminal Defense Lawyers have local offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, San Bernardino, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, and Whittier.

2See California Penal Code sections 67 and 68, dealing with bribery of executive officers and public employees.

3See California Penal Code sections 85 and 86 dealing with bribery of legislators.

4See California Penal Code section 165, dealing with bribery of members of county boards of supervisors and public corporations.

5See California Penal Code sections 137 and 138, dealing with bribery of witnesses regarding testimony or trial attendance.

6See California Penal Code section 641.3, dealing with commercial bribery.

7California Penal Code Section 7(6) provides that:  "The word 'bribe' signifies anything of value or advantage, present or prospective, or any promise or undertaking to give any, asked, given, or accepted, with a corrupt intent to influence, unlawfully, the person to whom it is given, in his or her action, vote, or opinion, in any public or official capacity."  Penal Code Section 7(3) provides that:  "The word 'corruptly' imports a wrongful design to acquire or cause some pecuniary or other advantage to the person guilty of the act or omission referred to, or to some other person."

8California Penal Code Section 92  ("Every person who gives or offers to give a bribe to any judicial officer, juror, referee, arbitrator, or umpire, or to any person who may be authorized by law to hear or determine any question or controversy, with intent to influence his vote, opinion, or decision upon any matter or question which is or may be brought before him for decision, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three or four years.")

9California Penal Code Section 93  ("(a) Every judicial officer, juror, referee, arbitrator, or umpire, and every person authorized by law to hear or determine any question or controversy, who asks, receives, or agrees to receive, any bribe, upon any agreement or understanding that his or her vote, opinion, or decision upon any matters or question which is or may be brought before him or her for decision, shall be influenced thereby, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years and, in cases where no bribe has been actually received, by a restitution fine of not less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) or not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or, in cases where a bribe was actually received, by a restitution fine of at least the actual amount of the bribe received or two thousand dollars ($2,000), whichever is greater, or any larger amount of not more than double the amount of any bribe received or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater.  (b) In imposing a restitution fine under this section, the court shall consider the defendant's ability to pay the fine.")

10Loosely based on People v. King (1963) 218 C.A. 2d 602  [holding that defendant must show evidence of a "frame-up" if he wanted to assert a defense that someone else planted the advertisement in retaliation for defendant's political activities]

11Wrongful receipt by a judicial officer of an emolument, gratuity, or reward is a misdemeanor.  See California Penal Code Section 94  ("Every judicial officer who asks or receives any emolument, gratuity, or reward, or any promise thereof, except such as may be authorized by law, for doing any official act, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The lawful compensation of a temporary judge shall be prescribed by Judicial Council rule. Every judicial officer who shall ask or receive the whole or any part of the fees allowed by law to any stenographer or reporter appointed by him or her, or any other person, to record the proceedings of any court or investigation held by him or her, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall forfeit his or her office. Any stenographer or reporter, appointed by any judicial officer in this state, who shall pay, or offer to pay, the whole or any part of the fees allowed him or her by law, for his or her appointment or retention in office, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be forever disqualified from holding any similar office in the courts of this state.")

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